Indian swimmers set for World Aquatic Championships challenge

Kazan (Russia) : Indian swimmers Sandeep Sejwal, Aaron D'Souza, Virdhawal Khade, Saurav Sangvekar, Sajan Prakash and others are geared up to distinguish themselves at the aquatic World Championships beginning here on Friday.

The event at Kazan will stretch till August 9 is an important warm-up event to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

More than 2,500 athletes from 186 countries, a record participation, are expected to take part in six disciplines; swimming, synchronised swimming, diving, high diving, water polo and open water swimming.

Greek parliament passes second crucial bailout bill

Athens : The Greek parliament early Thursday passed a bill on a second batch of reforms in line with an international bailout for Greece's sluggish economy.

The bill includes civil justice reforms, a bank deposit protection scheme and measures to boost the liquidity of banks. It was favoured by a clear majority, with 230 votes in favour out of 298 deputies taking part in the roll call vote, reported Xinhua.

On the other hand, 63 parliamentarians in the 300-member strong assembly voted against the bill and five others abstained.

World Bank raises forecast for 2015 global crude prices

Washington : The World Bank is nudging up its 2015 forecast for crude oil prices from $53 in April to $57 per barrel after oil prices rose 17 percent in the April to June quarter, according to the bank's latest Commodity Markets Outlook released on Wednesday.

Pope Francis appoints new Indian bishop

Vatican City : Pope Francis has named Joseph Kodakallil as Bishop of Satna in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the Vatican announced on Wednesday.

Kodakallil has been serving as Pastor of St Vincent’s Cathedral in the diocese of Satna and holds a doctorate in liturgy from Rome's Pontifical Oriental Institute.

The 49-year-old was born in the village of Upputhode in India's coastal state of Kerala and trained as a priest in Satna.

He studied philosophy in Ranchi in the state of Jharkhand and theology in Vadavathoor, Kerala.

Expedition 44 astronauts reach ISS for Mars research

Washington : Three Expedition 44 astronauts representing the US, Russia and Japan arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday to continue key research that advances NASA's journey to Mars.

The spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and docked at the space station after orbiting Earth four times, the US space agency said in a statement.

Australia's prison population at 10-year high

Canberra : Australia's prison population has jumped 10 percent over the last 12 months and reached a 10-year high, authorities said on Thursday.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of prisoners in adult corrective custody in 2014 was 33,791 from 30,775 in 2013, reported Xinhua news agency.

The number of Australian males imprisoned in 2014 was 31,200 compared with 28,426 in 2013, while 2,591 women were in custody in 2014 compared to 2,349 in 2013.

Obama discusses security partnership with Afghan leaders

Washington : US President Barack Obama discussed with Afghan leaders ways to deepen security partnership between the two countries, the White House said late Wednesday.

In a video conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, Obama praised the Afghan security forces' performance during the current fighting season, Xinhua news agency quoted a statement issued by the White House as saying.

Four killed in US shooting

Washington: Four people, including two children and a woman, were killed in a shooting incident, which took place on Wednesday at a residence in the suburbs of Atlanta city in the US, a media report said. The shooter was also found dead.

A man was also critically injured in the shooting, which took place in Georgia state.

Police received a call from a concerned relative around 6 a.m. about someone inside the house along the Old Atlanta Road, about 50 km from the city, reported Xinhua citing ABC news.


27 killed in Iraq clashes

Baghdad: At least 27 people were killed and 14 injured on Wednesday in air strikes and separate clashes against the Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq's Anbar province, a security source said.

Heavy clashes erupted in the morning in Jubba area, near Haditha town, some 200 km from Baghdad, when Iraqi troops and allied paramilitary Sunni militiamen, covered by Iraqi helicopters, attacked the IS militants' positions, leaving at least 12 militants killed, reported Xinhua citing the source.


Court frames charges against ex-Bangladesh minister

Shillong: A court in Meghalaya on Wednesday framed charges against former Bangladesh minister Salahuddin Ahmed, who was arrested here for illegally entering India.

The court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class), K.M. Lyngdoh Nongbri, framed charge against Ahmed under the Foreigners Act, public prosecutor I.C. Jha told journalists after the hearing.

"During the hearing, the accused (Ahmed) informed the court that he wanted to be tried here (Shillong, capital of Meghalaya) even he did not plead guilty in the case," Jha said.